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Health Secretary Defends GOP Health Care Bill Over ACA

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As Republicans continue to push for a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as "Obamacare," Tom Price, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the implementation of the ACA, has spoken out against the plan. Price then supported the current replacement bill, despite waning support for its legislation.

Numerous Republicans have openly criticized the current strategy to replace the plan, calling for a vote for "clean repeal" and suggesting attempts to pass a new bill with separate legislation should come later. Price dismissed this idea, however, believing that would leave many Americans in a difficult situation. 

"We believe strongly, strongly, that the plan we put together is so much better than the one that's there now," Price said on March 15 during a CNN-hosted town hall.

During the event, an audience member asked Price if the American Health Care Act, the GOP's current replacement proposal, would leave people "financially worse off".

Price responded, "I don't believe you'll be worse off from a healthcare standpoint."

However, according to a study of the AHCA by the Congressional Budget Office, the legislation will leave some 24 million Americans without health insurance by 2026.

"Some of those people would choose not to have insurance because they chose to be covered by insurance under current law only to avoid paying the penalties, and some people would forgo insurance in response to higher premiums," the report continues, according to NPR.

The report also takes aim at the proposed tax credits under AHCA.

The CBO notes that "Under the legislation, premiums for older people could be five times larger than those for younger people in many states, but the size of the tax credits for older people would only be twice the size of the credits for younger people."

"They do a pretty good job with numbers -- coverage is not their strong suit," Price said of the CBO's report, notes CNN. "What the CBO looked at was just one-third of the plan."

According to NPR, Mike Mulvaney, the White House budget director, also spoke out against the CBO's report.

"Everyplace else where the market is allowed to function, quality goes up and costs go down, and I think if you look for something the CBO may have gotten right in this report, it's that the premiums are actually going to come down in cost."

Price then addressed the AHCA's plan to give states more freedom over implementation, reports CNN. "[Are you] going to treat healthy kids who need quality health care the same way you're going to treat a disabled individual or an older individual?"

Sources: CNN, NPR / Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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